Western Australia’s new Safe Return to School Plan will see almost 477,000 students safely welcomed back to classrooms at public and non-government schools next week for the start of Term 1.
900 public education facilities in Western Australia have been inspected to check the ventilation of every classroom, informing the development of a ventilation strategy for classrooms in all public schools, to minimise impacts of COVID-19.
WA’s Safe Return to School Plan includes:
- a ventilation strategy;
- CO2 monitors;
- enhanced cleaning of surfaces;
- mask-wearing for school staff and secondary students;
- vaccinations - staff and regular visitors must be double dose vaccinated, and receive a third dose within one month of becoming eligible, and students are encouraged to be vaccinated as soon as possible;
- hand sanitiser and face masks available;
- physical distancing of staff and other adults, where possible;
- learning contingency plans are in place for remote learning, if required, including hardcopy learning packages, access to online learning resources; and
- arrangements to temporarily replace teachers and other school staff who are required to isolate due to COVID-19.
Currently masks are required for students in Year 7 and above in Perth, Peel and the South West. However, based on advice from the Chief Health Officer, masks will become mandatory for students in Year 3 and above once a high caseload environment is reached.
Education staff must be double dose vaccinated before the start of Term 1 (by January 31, 2022) and have had a third dose vaccination within a month of becoming eligible. Regular visitors to school sites are required to be vaccinated. Parents do not need to be vaccinated to drop off or pick up their children at school, attend assemblies and sports carnivals or have a parent-teacher interview.
Schools and education systems have contingency plans in place to minimise disruption to student learning, including hardcopy learning packages, access to online learning resources and arrangements to temporarily replace teachers and other school staff who are required to isolate due to COVID-19. These arrangements include outreach to:
- flying squad of teachers
- casual pool of more than 5,000 fully vaccinated teachers
- retired teachers
- vaccinated support staff.